I can already begin to tell that this year is finally going to mark the beginning of a massive push back against the anti-vaccine movement. The media has finally started to catch up and realize just how crazy they are. Most of all, the antivaxxers are claiming fewer and fewer PR victories these days and have begun to attack the very organizations that one would expect them to be supporting if their views were indeed aligned with reality.
First, there’s this Age of Autism blog where the two writers announce that they’re canceling their subscription to the Chicago Tribune for publishing a piece critical of the anti-vaccine movement’s efforts:
Put briefly, the Tribune’s continuing written assault on the autism community and those who serve us has caused us to lose the high degree of respect we once held for your newspaper.
Yeah, how dare you report facts that disagree with the views of uninformed ideologues? That’s why I get my news from the National Inquirer and Fox News.
Specifically, articles written (or co-written) by Trine Tsouderos have, in our opinion, strayed from the principles of balance, fairness, and the truth.
That’s because reality isn’t always fair and balanced towards unintelligible ideas. I hear the Tribune is also biased against the Flat Earth hypothesis and the geocentric model of the universe. Yeah, as you can guess, it just gets stupider and more incoherent from there so I’m just going to move on.
These days the crazies at Age of Autism can’t even seem capable of hiding their contempt for science and facts. Take for instance, J.B. Handley’s latest piece on Age of Autism, where he praises the direction that Autism Speaks is heading in while contrasting their current position to how they “really, really let down our kids”:
But, I also feel Autism Speaks has really, really let down our kids. They turn a blind eye to stories of recovery, and I still don’t understand why.
Maybe they “turn a blind eye” to stories of recovery because they’re just that, stories. While I don’t agree with some of Autism Speaks’ policies, one thing that I’m damned sure about is that they’re legitimately committed to trying to help those with autism, both children and adults. And if Autism Speaks were to err on this point, one can be pretty damned sure that they’d be erring on the side of taking these recovery stories seriously. If they were biased, one can only reasonably expect them to be biased towards such prominent claims among parents of autistic children in the same way that it would be only reasonable to expect a pro-gun bias from the NRA rather than a bias against guns. So if the world’s leading autism research advocate group is really more or less ignoring these claims as Handley suggests, it’s only reasonable to conclude that they’re horribly unimpressed by these alleged recovery stories.
But my favorite part of Handley’s sermon comes immediately after:
The have wasted boatloads of money on useless genetic research. And, when it comes to the dreaded “V” word – vaccines – Autism Speaks appears to behave more politically than scientifically. They seem to toe the line, never warning parents of vaccine risks, while trying hard not to alienate our community too much. Are they worried about alienating their donors? Damn straight.
Handley is seriously arguing that despite the now undeniable evidence of genetic factors in autism, that researching these known factors is a waste of money when the money could be far better spent on a hypothesis that at best is completely unproven and at worst (which is actually the case) thoroughly debunked to the satisfaction of every reputable medical scientific organization in the world. And then he has the audacity to suggest they’re the ones playing politics instead of going with the science? J.B. Handley doesn’t even know the meaning of the word science. He has long ago showed his hand revealing nothing but a political ideologue who refuses to accept any scientific facts that disagrees with his presupposed conclusions.
This also illustrates precisely the harm caused by this movement. If they’re allowed to grow powerful enough to successfully lobby in Washington, they will without any doubt push to take vital funding away from legitimate genetic research (ironically the best hope we have of defeating autism) and put it towards a complete dead end. And in doing so, the anti-vaccine movement would be effectively hurting the very people they claim to be fighting for. And that’s because they don’t really care about defeating autism, at least not as much as they care about stroking their own egos with a massive messiah complex. Ultimately, feeling like they’re heroes fighting a difficult battle is more satisfying to them than accepting the possibility that they may be wrong and that scientists who have devoted their lives to relevant medical research with differing views might just know more about these matters than they do.